Posted by Editoress on 07/14/10
There were plenty of Team Canada ties when BC Superweek kicked off with the Tour de Delta last weekend, and strong links to the Maple Leaf continue as it wraps up at the 31st Tour de White Rock this weekend.
After handing out Canadian Criterium Championships in Delta Saturday night, there will be no shortage of national champions taking part when the Tour de White Rock gets underway with the Homelife Hillclimb on Friday night. The list includes Time Trial Champion Svein Tuft, who races for Garmin-Transitions on the Pro Tour in Europe, Road Race winner Will Routley of the US-based Jelly Belly pro team, and new criterium champ Leah Kirchmann of the Vancouver-based Trek Red Truck team.
The Canadian links don’t end with the jerseys, however.
Several top riders entered at the Tour de White Rock were also included on the long list of Team Canada candidates recently announced for a pair of prestigious UCI Pro Tour races coming up in Quebec later this fall.
Tuft and his Garmin-Transitions teammate Christian Meier, who also plans to race in White Rock, are both already in the UCI races because they already race at a Pro Tour level. Still hoping to join them there as part of a special Canadian entry into the world-class field are local products like Routley, Andrew Pinfold (United Healthcare), Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefit Strategies),
and Rob Britton (Bissell Pro Cycling).
Anderson has done bigger races in the States – he wore the King of the Mountain jersey for two days at a Tour of California race that included many of the world’s best riders – but still sees the Tour de White Rock as an important part of the qualification process for Team Canada.
“Definitely the [Canadian Cycling Association] looks at it because there are a good handful of guys that are on the long list,” said Anderson, who was third in the Tour de Delta road race behind teammates Zach Bell, an Olympian, and David Veilleux “And With Svein and Christian being back here it adds even more credibility. So yeah, this is a good weekend for me and there’s a lot of Canadians here that can do the (Pro Tour) races.”
They Canadian decision makers will also be keeping a close eye on a couple of local riders in the mix for under-23 Time Trial and Road Races at the 2010 UCI Road World Championships in Australia this fall.
Jesse Reams (Garneau Evolution) moved to the lower mainland from the Yukon two years ago to race, had a breakout podium finish at the Delta Prologue last summer and finished just ahead of Tuft in last Sunday’s road race riding for. He and Cody Campbell, a local rider who is now with the Lance Armstrong-founded Trek-Livestrong development team, were both on the long list for the Australia races. Both will race White Rock.
A talented field won’t be the only challenge for Anderson and the other Team Canada eligible riders. With it’s hilly terrain, the Tour de White Rock has a strong history of producing great champions, including American pro Chris Horner, who is currently 25th at the Tour de France, in 2008.
White Rock also has a strong link to top Canadian riders during its first 30 years, with a history that includes Olympians like Brian Walton, Alison Sydor, Eric Wohlberg, Gord Fraser, Alex Wrubelski and Gina Grain. The Tour de White Rock also served as a pre-Olympic training camp in 1988 and 1992, and is an unofficial training ground for future Olympians every year, including Tuft and Bell, who both raced the 2008 Beijing Games.
“It becomes cyclical,” said Walton, a silver medalist at the 1996 Olympics and six-time Tour de White Rock winner. “It is a key component in the development of grass roots cycling, and having a world-class event with top-level professional talent is a key component in development of our future Olympians. BC Superweek is incredible for Canadian cycling.”
The 31st Tour de White Rock starts with the Homelife Realty Hillclimb on Friday night, the Maximum Collision Criterium Saturday, and wraps up with the scenic and storied Peace Arch News Road Race on Sunday.
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